Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise Him forever! Psalm 111:10 Daily Bible Devotions: A 31-Day Journey Through The Book of Proverbs is a collection of my reflections on the Book of Proverbs, which is perfect for daily reading as there is a proverb for EVERY day to help YOU live the Abundant Life!
You are invited to read all the way through from start to finish or jump to whatever day of the month it may be. For example, if you're here on the 10th of the month, click on Day 10 below and read that devotional. If you're here on the 30th, jump to the 30th and so on.
My prayer is that this 31-day journey into God's word will provide wisdom, hope and that it will prove to be a light unto your path.
~ Dr. Z
Daily Bible Devotions
Proverbs is the book of wisdom and given to us for instruction, insight, and knowledge. Let's spend a month diving into some of my favorite principles from the book of Proverbs and see what we can learn together!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 1
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding. Proverbs 1:1-2
In elegant simplicity, the Book of Proverbs begins with a road map to help us along the journey to fulfill the very purpose for which the book was written. Wisdom is gained; it is experienced. It is not something that you can download onto your mental hard drive, and it all starts with following the clearly designated steps that have been laid out in this treasure map.
If you want to be wise (able to skillfully utilize the information that you're exposed to) and, if you do not want to be gullible (able to discern truth from falsehood), then simply pour yourself into the very God-breathed inspiration that was designed to guide you in your quest.
The Book of Proverbs is truly an experience. You will be challenged, encouraged and corrected as your submit yourself to these pithy sayings. Make it your aim to implement the sage advice found in these verses featured as a daily proverb, and sit back as you watch how a new layer of the Abundant Life unfolds before your very eyes!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 2
My son, if you will receive my words, and treasure my commandments within you… Proverbs 2:1
It happens at different points in each person's walk. Slowly familiarity settles in. The awe and wonder cease. Next thing you know, someone becomes desensitized to the power of God's Word and the inevitable happens…
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first…” (Revelation 2:1-5)
You see, the Ephesians were a mighty people. They persevered in the face of persecution. They did not grow weary, nor did they welcome sinful people in their camp. They were wise and tested people before they received them as leaders. Yet, somehow (somewhere) things changed in their heart. In the process of having their lives totally transformed by their Savior – the manifested Word of God – many of them left their first love.
We'll never really know, on this side of eternity, what this means specifically; but from what Christ says next, I think we have a pretty good idea. From what we can tell, they lost discipline, which is why the Lord admonished them,
“…Remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.”
Even though the Ephesians excelled in several areas, they allowed laziness to creep in and were told to go back to the basics. This should lead us to assume that they strayed from the Scripture. At its core, treasuring God's word and taking heed to what He tells us in the pages of the Bible are the hallmark of the Christian experience.
How about you? Have you left God's word aside for a season? Have you lost your love for reading the Scripture and treasuring His commands?
If so, the remedy is brilliantly simple: “…Remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first!”
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 3
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. For length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2
When people think of the commandments of God, they typically think of the Ten Commandments and a bunch of “thou shall not's.” Oh, what a tragic stereotype! God's laws and teachings are so much more; they are actually life-giving!
- Violating the Law of Spiritual Abundance – not feeding your spirit with God's Word, prayer and worship will ultimately lead you to being spiritually drained and estranged from God. You will soon lack purpose, drive and passion to live the life you were destined for.
- Violating the Law of Physical Abundance – feeding your body with toxins like sugar, preservatives and other chemicals will ultimately lead to cancer, chronic disease and premature death.
- Violating the Law of Mental Abundance – not stimulating your brain and spending too much time in front of the TV will ultimately lead to cognitive atrophy, leaving your brain more susceptible to developing dementia and even Alzheimer's.
- Violating the Law of Emotional Abundance – allowing fear and worry to settle in about the many “cares of life” will ultimately lead to anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Violating the Law of Financial Abundance – wasteful, rash spending habits during the working years of life will either prevent retirement altogether, or will ultimately lead to little extra money to enjoy the Golden Years.
- Violating the Law of Occupational Abundance – working at a J-O-B that you hate just to pay the bills, and never striving to find a more fulfilling line of work, will ultimately cause you to resent what you do for a living. You be robbed of your life's purpose, because a majority of your day will be spent doing something that has no meaning.
- Violating the Law of Social Abundance – using and treating people as a means to an end will ultimately push them away, which will leave you either alone or with superficial relationships that are not lasting.
Jesus said it this way,
“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12:50)
God's commands are eternal life, Jesus says, but what does this really mean? Well, if someone doesn't respect the law of gravity by jumping off the roof of their house onto the concrete 30 feet below, they'll likely end up with a broken leg or even worse! In the same way, someone will suffer if they violate the laws of sowing and reaping that God has set in motion since the beginning of time.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 4
But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared]. Proverbs 4:18
If there were ever a life-verse that should define our walk with God, this is it!
The secret gem to take home with you here is that Solomon describes the path of the righteous as a journey. Like Paul said “I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”(Philippians 3:12)
Isn't that gloriously reassuring!?!
You see? We are all under construction, which means that we should all be patient with each other, and especially with ourselves as well! What a sweet reminder to also embrace the struggles along the way, because they are certainly inevitable.
At the same time, there is a stern admonishment here as well. Our brightness is THE indicator of how closely we are walking with him, and it should be getting brighter every day! If it's not, then we know something is wrong.
Granted, we all have those occasional dark, crummy kind of days. Just don't make it your habit, get right back on the horse and start shining for the Lord again! As long as you keep on keeping on, your light will eventually shine through. Even on the cloudiest days, the sun will peak out sooner than later – we need to press through during challenging seasons to, and not let the gloomy seasons get the best of us.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 5
Drink water from your own well – share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Proverbs 5:15-17 (NLT)
Let's talk about sex for a minute. Yep, sex!
Whether you've been happily married for the past 30 years – or you are a teenager still trying to find your first date to the school dance – having the proper perspective on sex is critical in our culture.
The key distinction of Biblically minded sex, in contrast to worldly-minded sex, is that it's for married folks only. That means EVERY variety of “sex” that you can think of. No Bill Clinton excuses will last long in God's court! 😉
We are being inundated with a variety of corrupt perspectives on how we can (and even should) related to one other sexually, that even the most devout church-going Christian is being led astray.
- “It's my body.”
- “I deserve to be happy.”
- “As long as I don't hurt anyone else, it's alright.”
- “Healthy sexual expression is a normal part of life.”
- “Just once won't hurt. I'm a believer, my sins are forgiven.”
And the misled sayings of the naïve go on and on…
The truth, however, is that:
- You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
- You were bought with a price, your body is not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- You are called to be holy as God is holy. (1 Peter 1:16)
- You are commanded to shun youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22)
- Adulterers and the sexually immoral will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9)
Preserving yourself for your husband or wife is a sacred act of worship. It honors God, honors your spouse, honors the sanctity of marriage and honors your communities because family is the cornerstone of every culture.
Be true to who you are in Christ, and enjoy “healthy sexual” expression with the one person you vow your life to!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 6
My son, keep your father's [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you]. Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck. Proverbs 6: 20-21
Regardless of its position in society today, God's Word is literally the most valuable object on the planet. Like millions before me, it is what brought me to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and we should imprint it on our hearts.
Shockingly, regular Bible reading is one of first things to go when the business of life gets in the way; which is why we need to be constantly reminded to make the time to stay in our devotionals.
I have found these few quotes to be particularly inspiring and insightful to keep the Scripture at the forefront of my eyes. I hope you do, too…
- “If you cut him, (John Bunyan) he'd bleed Scripture!” ― Charles H. Spurgeon
- “The soul can do without everything except the word of God, without which none at all of its wants are provided for.” ― Martin Luther
- “God's revelation in the Gospel not only reveals Who He is, but it also reveals who we are.” ― David Platt
- “A person could read the Bible, not to become smart, but rather to feel that they are not alone, that somebody understands them and love them enough to speak to them, on purpose, in a way that makes a person feel human.” ― Donald Miller
- “Until God's Word becomes a Picture that you can see, it cannot become a reality in which you can feature.” ― Benjamin Suulola
- “There have been prophets and students who handle the Bible like a child's box of bricks; they explain to us the design and structure and purpose; but as time goes on things do not work out in their way at all. They have mistaken the scaffolding for the structure, while all the time God is working out His purpose with a great and undeterred patience.” ― Oswald Chambers
- “Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St Luke or St Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Butler, but (contemporary writers), or even myself.” ―C.S. Lewis
- “We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” ― John R.W. Stott
- “All our time spent making lists would be better spent painting, or writing, Or singing, or learning to speak stories. Sometimes I feel as though the Church has a kind of pity for Scripture, Always having to come behind it and explain everything, put everything into actionable steps, acronyms and hidden secrets, as though the original writers, and for that matter the Holy Spirit Who worked in the lives of the original writers, were a bunch of you literate hillbillies. I think the methodology God used to explain His Truth is quite superior. My life is a story, more than a list. I don't feel that a list could ever explain the complexity of all this beauty.” ― Donald Miller
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 7
Say to skillful and godly Wisdom, You are my sister, and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend. Proverbs 7:4
Until we see God's Word as His Love Letter to His children, we'll never truly grasp the riches and glory that are hidden within each page. Yet, it's more than just any ol' letter. It's a living message that breathes life into the soul and spirit of anyone with any open heart to its truths.
“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
You see, this is why we're told to regard godly Wisdom as our sister and understanding as our intimate friend. We're literally called to establish an ethereal relationship with the Bible.
How is this done? Just like any other relationship you've built, you need to spend time with the person you're connecting with. In the case of building a relationship with God's Word, it all starts with opening up the pages, asking your Heavenly to “Open [your] eyes that [you] may see wonderful things in [His] law,” and keep your heart open to the revelation(s) that He'll reveal to you. (Psalm 119:18)
If you haven't lately, you'd be doing yourself a HUGE favor by taking a nice long look at Psalm 119 next time you're in prayer. What a chapter! By far, at 176 verses, it is not only the longest chapter of any book in the Scripture, but also one of the most powerful. It is brimming over with Abundant Life secrets that keep driving home the message why reading and following the Bible is so important. Almost poetically, virtually every verse conveys the same truth that Moses proclaimed centuries before:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days.“ (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Isn't our Heavenly Awesome!
- First, He gives us the sacred Love Letter as a guide to help us (His children) enjoy the Abundant Life.
- Second, He makes it overtly clear what the Love Letter is all about – God takes out all of the guess work!
- Third, He outlines the dos and don'ts to make our lives even simpler.
- And finally, He reminds us again and again about #1 – #3!
Thank You Lord for making the Abundant Life so easy to grasp hold of!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 8
I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me. Proverbs 8:16
Seeking God is the highest calling of any work that a person can aspire toward. It's also the way to receive from His Hand through His Heart. Like earthly fathers who care for their children, and would rather have them come ask for help than struggle on their own, our Heavenly Father yearns for us to seek His Hand. This is so important to Him that He designed creation in such a way that our blessings are completely contingent on us following this model.
That truth, scattered throughout all of Scripture, takes a variety of forms:
- “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
- “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
- “Those who honor be I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.” (I Samuel 2:30)
- “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Time and time again, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that, “In Christ Jesus, [we] are all children of God through faith!” (Galatians 3:26).
And, what's faith? “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) It's really that simple!
Make it your determined effort to walk in faith today, settling for nothing but God's VERY best for your life!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 9
Whoever is simple (easily led astray and wavering), let him turn in here! As for him who lacks understanding, [God's] Wisdom says to him… Proverbs 9:4
Wisdom and understanding act as protection against the wiles of the devil and deceitful people who follow his ways. This armor is readily available for people who serve the Lord, and there is even a special safeguard for those who aren't naturally savvy in this area. Our Heavenly Father makes special allowance for people who don't yet have an abundance in this area.
“If you say, ‘See, we did not know this,' does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul.” (Proverbs 24:12)
And, never forget: whether you're a young adult figuring out just cruel this world can be, or someone older who isn't naturally shrewd, Heavenly insight is just a prayer away!
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
Sadly, not every Christian realizes this. Some folks who are naturally gullible, or slow to catch onto the quick wit of “fast talkers,” get down on themselves; and many even consider themselves stupid or unintelligent. Heaven's no! Nothing could be further from the truth!
It's important to remember that intelligence is relative.
- Some people are book smart
- Others can build car engines from scraps
- Some are gifted in the arts
- Others are gifted in science
- And the list goes on and on…
Yet, wisdom is different than your so-called intelligence quotient (or “IQ”). As Solomon says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.” (Proverbs 4:7) It supersedes what people mark as smart, genius and brilliant. As Yahweh designed it, wisdom is Heavenly common sense manifested.
And it's not some elusive thing. In fact, wisdom is right at our fingertips! The NIV says it this way, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding!” (Proverbs 4:7)
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 10
A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother. Proverbs 10:1
One of the most important moments in your Christian walk is when you experience God's heart in all of its loving glory. In Christ, we are all His children, He is our Eternal Heavenly Father. And, like our earthly parents, we give Him much joy when we follow His advice and do what He tells us to do. At the same the time, we grieve His heart when we do our own thing and do not follow His commands.
Hence, Paul's admonishment to “not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
Though, sometimes it takes a while for these truths to settle in.
The typical world-view of God – the unapproachable taskmaster who is constantly on the lookout to punish us for breaking His laws – is nothing less than the work of Satan to deteriorate our relationship with Him, which is based on knowing Him intimately as our Father. Contrary to the lies satan spreads, Yahweh is truly is our Heavenly Daddy.
- “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
- “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)
- “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.'” (Psalm 82:6)
- “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Galatians 3:26)
But, what does it mean to be “in Christ Jesus?”
In one word: OBEDIENCE.
This is how we live out our lives as children of God.
- “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
- “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
- “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (James 2:17)
Determine in your heart to make our Eternal Daddy happy and proud of you. Simply trust and obey.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 11
The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. Proverbs 11:1
Truth is, a follower of Christ has no right to long for riches. Instead of learning to be content with that they have, desiring to be wealthy is a trap that has caused many well-intentioned men and women of God to fall to their ruin. You see, God warns us not to be emotionally attached to money and the things that it can purchase, or else they will get the best of us.
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
Before you think that you're in the clear, just realize that this is usually not done by committing overt crimes like armed robbery, theft or larceny. No, not at all! One of the most avoidable, yet oftentimes subtle ways that people are bested by their desire to be wealthy is through accumulating their riches by unjust means (i.e. through “dishonest scales”). In fact, the place where most moral fibers start to deteriorate is by allowing the “little” things to creep in, which ultimately corrode moral compasses until they become spiritually corrupt. These small so-called “white lies” happen all the time to Christians and non-Christians alike:
- Not reporting every dollar you earned as income on taxes.
- “Fudging” the numbers a little to make a sale go through.
- Not telling the store clerk that she forgot to ring up an item in your cart.
- Omitting details to the police officer to make it look like you really didn't cause the car accident.
- Misrepresenting the facts to the insurance company so that they'll cover your bill.
- And the list goes on and on…
It's shocking what people will do make or save a couple bucks!
And what happens to this money that is gained through “dishonest scales?” It ends up flying away, and goes into the hand of the just! (Proverbs 13:22) Oh, the irony of it all! “Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by justice; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11)
Be sure to ask God today to protect you from this deadly trap!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 12
A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved. Proverbs 12:3
I am convinced that God put it in the hearts of people throughout history to institute the monetary system of trading goods and services for currency.
It's somewhat crazy if you think about it: I'm going to trade a piece of paper or coin with someone's picture on it for food and clothing that I need to survive?!? The only value that gold or silver or cash holds is what people place on them. And therein lies the secret.
The entire system is a gift, or at least SHOULD be. And, as we see in Scripture, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
I say that money is a good thing, because it is one of the many tools that God uses to prepare us for the REAL blessing. In a sense, it's like practicing for the “big game.” Jesus put it this way:
“If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:11)
And what are “true riches?”
Only God really knows, but from what we read in the Bible there are several “crowns” laid up in store for us who die in Christ:
- Everlasting Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)
- Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
- Crown of Life (James 1:2, Revelation 2:10)
- Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
- Unfading Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
Whether these are literal crowns that we'll wear as we reign with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12) as His royal priests and holy nation (1 Peter 2:9), or figurative treasures really doesn't matter. What matters is that we learn to be faithful with the little that we've been given, so that we prove to be trustworthy with much! (Luke 16:10)
You see, the Lord tests and proves our hearts through a variety of ways, and He oftentimes uses food, money and other things that are in-an-of-themselves harmless, but can easily (and oftentimes are) be corrupted. Remember, we will not be established by wickedness, but by “roots of righteousness” that will never move!
“And now a crown of righteousness is kept for me, which my Lord shall award to me in that day when he shall judge the just, but not only to me, but also to those who will have loved his revelation.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
Focus on Christ's true riches. It will serve you better in this day and in the one to come.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 13
A wise son accepts his father's discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1
As followers of Christ, we are God's sons and daughters. We get to enjoy the full benefits of being the Heavenly Father's children. We also know that all of the promises in the Bible are ours because we're in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20) And, just in case we're doubtful of our eternal inheritance, “He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us!” (2 Corinthians 1:22)
Hallelujah! What a indescribable gift!
You know what else we get to enjoy because we're His children?
- “My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
- “Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6)
- “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)
You see, it's actually a blessing!
- “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” (Job 5:17-18)
- “But when God does judge us, he disciplines us as his own sons, that we may not be involved in the general condemnation of the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:32)
The discipline of the Lord will produce in us Godly character and fruit of Spirit that will last a lifetime!
- “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10-11)
Unlike goods parent who discipline their children with a time-out, spanking, or being grounded, God's techniques are a little different.
- “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. (Hebrews 12:7)
If you're going through a challenging moment right now, or are having a rough day, or if things haven't been going your way for a season, it's always best to look to God and simply ask if you're out of His will. If you are, He'll direct you back on the right path.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 14
The house of the wicked shall be overthrown, but the tent of the upright shall flourish. Proverbs 14:11
Political correctness, terrorism, financial crashes, and other tools of the devil have caused fear to run rampant in the hearts of God's people. The Body of Christ has all but cowered in the shadows because of the threat of losing jobs, social status, health insurance and other earthly comforts. The fear of not having these so-called “securities” have caused God's people to drift away from the abundant life, and people have veritably forgotten why they are here on Earth in the first place.
I can tell you one thing for sure: we are NOT here to leach off the system with a sense of entitlement. We are called to give with reckless abandon, as ambassadors of Heaven, to guide people back to their Creator (2 Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 3:20). In this time of uncertainty, herein lies the secret to having a “flourishing tent” in the midst of chaos, and this rallying cry should be the driving force behind our utter existence:
- Christ is the Eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords! (Revelation 19:16)
- You are God's child through faith in the Messiah Jesus! (Galatians 3:26)
- As His child, you are part a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9)
- Your citizenship is in Heaven! (Philippians 3:20)
- You are an ambassador of Christ – God is making His appeal to the world THROUGH you! (2 Corinthians 5:20)
- Christ is THE Rock, the Cornerstone on which the entire House of God is built! (Ephesians 2:20)
- Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and you are a pivotal part of God's House! (1 Corinthians 6:19)
- As part of the Body of Christ, you have a unique and necessary function! (1 Corinthians 12)
- The Lord will give you all that you need to fulfill this God-given destiny! (Psalm 138:8, Romans 8:28)
- Yes, you can truly do ALL things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)
- And you can walk out your faith in total confidence! (Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1)
- Because you haven't been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 2:7)
- The word “fear” is mentioned 400 times in the Bible, and we have been empowered by Christ to FEAR NOT because perfect love casts about all fear! (1 John 4:18)
Be empowered today to live out your true calling in Christ. Regardless of what happens around you, trust in God's promises and your tent will be sure to flourish!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 15
A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger…. A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit. Proverbs 15:1, 4
God doesn't repeat Himself very often, so when He does we should listen up, right?
In these two verses, the Lord offers some very practical advice on how to communicate to bring out the best in people. This is particularly relevant when emotions come into play during heated disagreements and full-blown arguments!
The point can be made that a “soft answer” and a “gentle tongue” are to be viewed in the same light. Speaking in a very controlled, kind manner would be a fitting description. Yet, as you can see in these passages, they bring about very different (and interestingly complimentary) outcomes.
- In the first passage, the result is turning away wrath.
- In the second, a tree of life.
There are a several different contexts that these words of wisdom apply.
- When you are upset at your children for not minding their manners or for stout disobedience, you should address them calmly – with love. This will plant “tree of life” seeds into their little spirits, instead of breaking them down with contrary, disagreeable words.
- By responding to your spouses' accusations or judgmental questions in a non-defensive, subdued approach you leave him on the receiving end with very little cause to fuel the fire. Although it may not always deflate his temper, it will definitely dampen it a bit.
- When your employees or co-workers miss a deadline or complete a job incorrectly, confronting them with a gentle tongue will bring out their best; instead of challenging them grievously, which only causes offense and resentment.
- Correcting the store clerk with gracious words when they ring up the same item two (or three!) times will bring a blessing to their soul, instead of rudely pointing out their error to the point of getting them angry.
Is this difficult to do? Of course! Or else God wouldn't have repeated Himself! To be Godly examples to the people around us is absolutely critical if we're to lead them to the Lord, which is the real point of this all.
See More Verses About Healing In this verse, God says that a gentle tongue can bring healing. See more of our favorite Healing Scriptures here!
“Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33)
“Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,' behold, now is ‘the day of salvation — giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited.” (2 Corinthians 6:2-3)
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 16
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:3
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) is credited for telling people that he rarely prayed for more than five minutes at a time, and that he never went more than five minutes without praying. I'm pretty sure we can assume that he wasn't referring to falling prostrate on the ground or kneeling down to give homage to our Heavenly Father. Spurgeon adopted a way of life that held regular communication with God at the forefront of his mind and heart.
This communion is what God is seeking from us as His Children, and is what Paul was more than likely referring to when He said, “Pray with ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Is God so possessive that He demands our absolute devotion and attention to be on Him at all times? Yep, pretty much, but not in the way that you may think.
You know that you're told to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength,” but do you know why? (Mark 12:30) As any man or woman has experienced along the way of romance and courtship, love breeds trust, which is faith in action.
And this pleases God because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
You see, like a romantic courtship, spending time with the Lord gives us the opportunity to know Him intimately. As we fall deeper and deeper in love with Him, we learn to trust His word, His voice and His direction. Inevitably, your instinct becomes to ask Him for guidance as you go about your day, just like you do with a trusted friend and your spouse.
The admonishment to roll our works upon the Lord is yet just another reminder to share our lives with Him. As with so many facets of the Christian life, we will be richly rewarded with the Mind of Christ – which is knowing God's Will, doing it, and benefiting from it!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 17
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
The Bible warns us time and time again to keep our mouths shut, and leave well enough alone. In no situation is gossip permitted by God, and we all know this. But what exactly is gossip? Therein lies the issue for many men and women of God.
Webster defines “gossip” as, a “rumor or report of an intimate nature” or “a chatty talk.”
- What about when you're really hurt and you need someone to talk to?
- Or, you just know that one of your friends is going to do something backhanded or questionable to another one of your friends and you simply have to protect them?
- How about when your brother in Christ confides in you that his wife is having an affair, and you're calling your prayer partners to intercede for the guilty party?
- Or, if your friend pours out her heart about not being able to conceive, and you ask your friends to pray for her?
You see, the offense doesn't have to always be against you to make the gossip wrong. Spreading “reports of an intimate nature” will always cause the person you're gossiping about to get hurt. Even if you're trying to help!
Unless they give you explicit permission to share their secret, you will always be inching up to the grey zone of what defines gossip or not. Even with our spouses – especially with our spouses! – we need to be careful.
What's the solution? It's easy! Stay quiet.
- What if you've been hurt? Go to your pastor or a trusted, professional counselor!
- What if someone is going to hurt themselves or is hurting others? Go to the authorities!
- What if someone refuses to let you tell their story? Be careful!
You can share someone's story in a general, non-specific manner, but be sure NOT to give any details. People don't ever need to know specifics to pray for someone. No, never. A simple, “please pray for my friend” will do. God knows who you're talking about.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 18
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19
“Political correctness” has absolutely flipped the world upside down. At this point, we've created a culture where people don't know what to do or say anymore, or else risk offending someone. In case you've caught yourself at a loss for words, be empowered by this:
“Perfect loves casts out fear,” (1 John 4:18) and there is no fear in Christ if we speak the truth in love!
In a time where the moral fabric of our society has been completely torn to shreds, men and women of God must stand on the Biblical Rock of Ages and boldly share their faith like never before!
Worried about offending someone, or not being politically correct?
Just remember that Christ is the “stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (1 Peter 2:8) It can (and should!) be offensive to hear that the wickedness of the flesh has placed someone on the highway to hell. When done in true love and gentleness of spirit, however, the Gospel becomes a wellspring of life; leading people to repentance as they will become eternally grateful for hearing the truth!
We must not confuse true Biblical offense with what the world considers “offensive.”
You see, true Biblical offense is when a follower of Christ becomes offended at the hands of someone in sin.
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,' you shall forgive him.” (Luke 17:1-4)
At the same time, we are called to the High Standard of Christ by not causing fruitless offense as well. Paul reminds us that we should, “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:32) Meaning, we should be a good neighbor and make sure to never fall into the temptation of fruitless offense; where people are attacked and condemned.
Fruitful offense, on the other hand, is another story completely and lead people to the abundant life!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 19
He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him. Proverbs 19:17
Sometimes it can be a tough call whether or not to give cash to pan handlers. We all know what Christ says in the Gospels, but does this apply in EVERY situation?
- “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 4:42)
- “Give to everyone who asks you.” (Luke 6:30)
What about giving money to street people? What if we can smell liquor on their lips? Or we can “just tell” that they're on drugs? Should we give to them as well?!? After all, God calls us to be good stewards right? But also to caring for others.
Personally, I've taken folks like this out to restaurants to get a quick bite to eat, and have even put them up for a night at a local motel if the weather were harsh. I have also emptied my wallet on several occasions, as an act of worship to God, not caring how they use the money.
Verses like these come to mind:
- “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” (Proverbs 31:6-7)
Let me put something in perspective for you. Taking a homeless person to McDonald's to fill their bellies is NOT a blessing. In fact, it's a curse. It's not even food. It's manufactured “food stuff,” which is one of the major contributors to diabetes, heart disease and cancer throughout the world. Keep in mind, sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine, and has been linked to virtually every disease known to man.
For the record: I do NOT drink alcohol, I take the abstinence approach. However, I can't judge my brothers and sisters if they enjoy drinking wine with meals, or even a homeless person who drinks to stay warm.
What's worse? Drinking some whiskey to help numb the pain for a night, or clogging our arteries with fast food? Both cause death, and we are not to judge.
With that said, I will never go and buy a homeless man some hooch and cigs to support his habit. I will ask God what I'm to do, if/how I am to give, and simply obey.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 20
It is an honor for a man to cease from strife and keep aloof from it, but every fool will quarrel. Proverbs 20:3
I grew up in a hot-tempered Sicilian family, and arguments were a way of our life. Case in point: We would visit my aunt at least every week, and I can barely remember one visit when someone was NOT shouting out at someone else while we were there. Yet, things never really got out of control.
“Sicilians are loud,” I was always told. And that was that.
First off, looking back, it probably would have been best if my family didn't raise their voices and tried to settle their disagreements in a more “civil” way. In their defense, at least you knew that everything was out on the table, and that someone wasn't sweeping hurt feelings under the rug!
It's probably not so straight-forward for other families. Even in my case, the incessant arguing created an environment that wasn't so peaceful. And, to this day, I am very sensitive to shouting as it triggers a lot of memories that I am not necessarily fond of.
That is why I have tried my best to do things differently in my home. Granted, my emotions sometimes get the best of me, but I generally do a pretty good job keeping it cool and keeping my voice down. At the end of the day, we all would do well to take today's proverb to heart.
- As the Bible says, it is quite foolish to argue because it generally doesn't end well.
- Heated discussions should be postponed until everyone can resume the topic at a later time when emotions are in check.
- Ceasing from strife and staying away from quarrels is one thing, avoiding conflict and allowing the situation to fester is quite another. Roots of bitterness are tricky things to get rid of!
- Ultimately, everything needs be settled between you and your loved-one(s). Pray for God's guidance to get the timing right.
- Communicating in a healthy, mutually-beneficial way can be difficult. Be patient with yourself (and with your loved-one), and always apologize when you act out of turn.
- Don't give up, and seek out professional support if you find yourself on the crazy cycle of perpetual unresolved conflicts.
- In the end, remember: You will be honored not only by the Lord, but also by other people when you stay out a fight.
When meditating on today's Word, let's keep this in mind: There's a reason why the Book of Proverbs is filled with guidance on how best to manage difficult, emotionally-charged situations. When in doubt, be quiet, don't retaliate and pray that God shows you the way!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 21
Every way of a man is right is in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2
Moral relativity is that insidious deception that convinces people they are innocent of violating the objective standard put in place by God Almighty for our good. Yes, OUR good! God's Laws should be obeyed because they keep us from the trap of subjectivity.
It typically starts with letting our focus shift away from the so-called “little things:”
- “I don't have time to go to church, I NEED to work.”
- “I can't give any offerings this week, I NEED to pay my bills.”
- “I've been a Christian for a long time and have read God's Word countless times, I don't NEED to pray and read the Bible every day.”
- “It's not gossip if I tell someone about my friend's issues so that we can pray for her.”
- “A little [fill in the blank] won't hurt…”
- “Everything in moderation.”
After a while we become so desensitized to sin's sting, that we become numb and ultimately commit acts of wickedness that we would have never dreamed of.
- “But we're engaged, what's wrong with making love.”
- “It's not murder, the fetus isn't ‘alive.'”
- “Eye for an eye, I'm not going to let him get away with that!”
- “I don't need to report ALL of my income, I pay enough taxes.”
Next thing you know, the moral fabric of a society is completely torn to shreds – all in the name of the treacherous lie that God's Word isn't truly the Divine standard to base our cultures' standards off of.
As we see in the Garden, it is human nature to think that we don't need to follow God's ways, and that we can figure things out our own, which is moral relativity manifested. Don't be misled, God will not only judge our thoughts and actions, but our very heart if we are stubbornly set to follow our own destructive desires.
What's the solution? Follow the Biblical mandate of living within the safeguards that He has put in place to help prevent such catastrophes.
- Daily Bible reading and meditation.
- Daily praise and worship.
- Regular communion with believers.
- Regular fellowship at church.
- Being held accountable to others.
- Associating with God's people.
- Basing our decisions off of His Word as THE standard.
The solution is easy. Simply trust and obey.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 22
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
As the waters of the global marketplace become more muddied, the line between what was once an obvious “righteous” endeavor and a corrupt one is becoming exceedingly thin. So much so, that many men and women have become desensitized to sin's sting, and have fallen to the temptation of setting aside their integrity for the sake of making a buck. What this looks like for everyone comes in all shapes and sizes, and even the most nobly-minded follower of Christ has fallen prey.
At the end of the day, nothing is worth more than your good name. To be known as a man or woman of integrity is absolutely priceless! The real value is how your good name causes you to walk in favor, which is your protection in the workplace!
“Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12)
But, what about the “gray area” that so many of us seem to hover around all the time?
On the one hand, it's pretty safe to say that most Christians would agree that investing in companies that earn their revenue supporting ungodly activities such as pornography, same-sex marriage, abortion, gambling and other acts of sin is wrong. But, what about other ways of increasing our bank accounts? In the end, did we lose our “good name” in the process?
- Mulling over a colleague to get a promotion, by spreading gossip about them – regardless if it's true!
- Fudging the numbers a little to convince investors to fund your newest venture.
- Taking the advice of an inside-trader to turn around a quick buck on the stock market.
- Telling a “white lie” to the health inspector, knowing full well that your new building is not up to code.
- And the list goes on and on.
If you get that “check in your spirit” – or if you're not 100% certain if what you're doing or not is kosher – don't move, it's not worth it! Seek God's heart on the matter, and act accordingly.
When you get down to it, the Bible is quite clear on how to stay away from unrighteous endeavors, which will preserve our precious name in the sight of God and man. In the end, we will be exponentially better off by taking the high (righteous) road than the low (corrupt) one.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 23
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18
Ever since I've been a young boy, I've always known in my heart that I was destined to do “great things.” What that meant, I did not know, but I knew it was supposed to be BIG!
Frankly, I'm convinced that God has put this same yearning in everyone's heart. What else could the Lord have meant when he said,
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Ask any 1st grader what they want to be when they grow up, and what do they say?
- I want to be a doctor and heal people!
- I want to be a basketball player and play my favorite sport!
- I want to be a singer and travel the world!
- I want to be a teacher and help kids!
- I want to be an engineer and build cool stuff!
- I want to be the President!
- AKA, I want to do BIG things when I grow up!
No one ever says, I want to spend my entire day at a J-O-B that I hate!
Now don't misunderstand me, doing “BIG” things is relative and doesn't necessarily mean fame and fortune. The question that I am posing is, what happens to the drive and burden to do glorious things with our lives and make a difference in the world? Far too many people that I meet seem to have lost this passion, and have become apathetic, woefully complacent – lethargic even – and never accomplish their hearts' desire. A desire, I believe, that was originally birthed by God.
I have this inkling suspicion that – somewhere along the path of a person's youth – the intimate yearning of doing “great things” gets squashed by strategic attacks from the enemy of our souls. Though, don't lose hope! The Creator of ALL things can cause a rebirth of your calling. He can reignite that passion!
Personally, it wasn't until my radical born again transformation that I started to reconnect to the vision that I had as a youth to do “great things.” Still, it took nearly 6 years for me to finally allow the Lord to break the mental chains that were holding me back to live out the Abundant Life that Christ speaks of in John 10:10!
Oh, thank You, Jesus, for the work that You accomplished on the cross!
The take home message today is simple: It's NOT too late for YOU to make a difference! As part of the Body of Christ, you are called to do GREAT things for God! The world will never be what it SHOULD be until you and I step up and do whatever it takes to walk out our God-ordained destiny.
The hope is for the future, so make today the beginning of the rest of your new Abundant Life in Christ!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 24
Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field. Afterwards, then, build your house. Poverbs 24:27
So, I have a rule at my house: My daughters can't date until they're 30 – I'm stalling for the rapture 😉 – but my boys can start dating after they get a good job. I know, I know, like I'm ever going to keep my babies stay-at-home Daddy's Girls forever! But I'm actually somewhat serious about what I have instilled in my boys.
Put first things first – don't start down the road of love and romance until you know you can (and are able) to see it through to the end! Many a young bucking broncos go out full steam to woo the “perty” country girl that they have sights their set on, but simply don't have the financial wherewithal to support her – let alone a family should the “inevitable” happen!
So many of us put the cart before the horse that we sit in bewilderment when things go awry.
Our Lord make it crystal clear:
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace…” (Luke 14:27-32)
When I first read Proverbs 24, I was a baby Christian. Young, single and nothing but idealistic visions of my future. At the time, I understood this passage as an admonishment to make sure that I get a good job and establish my “work outside in field” before getting married – i.e. “building my house.” It made sense to me to start a life-long journey with my future wife on the right foot; at least financially-speaking. Hence, the indissoluble rule in my house about dating and courting.
Applicable to virtually every area of life, the wisdom to put first things first is a timeless reminder to count the cost for any endeavor our hearts are set on accomplishing.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 25
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2
God has placed within people an inquisitive nature to figure life out. We see this all across the board, spanning cultures and philosophies since the beginning of time. This is one reason why virtually every world religion has a “Creation Story,” that includes at least one of these three elements:
- The command from a supreme being – the “Creator.”
- The disobedience or “sin” when people do not follow these instructions.
- The consequence that ultimately explains why people suffer so much pain, hunger, disease and all other challenges in life.
We clearly see this in the Bible in the Book of Genesis, but the questions remain:
- What happened from the time that Adam & Eve ate the fruit, shared their story with their children and their grandchildren, to the jumbled mess it is today?
- Why does nearly every culture has a different version of the story?
- You would think that the story would have stayed the same since it originated from just two people, right?
Sadly, somewhere down the line, the truth got diluted until people simply stopped questioning the story and ignorantly accepted whatever they were told. Eventually, they veered against their instinctive nature to test all things and seek for truth.
We see this today like never before! Whether they hear something at church, on TV, from their doctor or in the newspaper – people are so readily inclined to accept whatever’s delivered to them, but this does not please the Lord! Remember:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
By design, truth-seekers are inherently chasing after God. And you know what? It’s a desire hardwired by our Creator from conception so that we will continue to pursue a relationship with Him! To search out a matter (to diligently seek for truth) is to seek the Lord Himself because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! (John 14:6)
Follow your God-Given instincts today, and seek the Lord by testing “all thing and holding fast to what’s true!” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Never settle for anything but His best for your life!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 26
Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. Proverbs 26:2
If there's one thing that I've seen across the board in most American Christians, it's a woefully timid attitude in the midst of causeless curses. Sadly, the empowering truth of being MORE than a conqueror has passed through the minds of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ without taking root. When the conviction does not exist that this eternal axiom is our birthright in Christ, fear sets in and the Abundant Life soon becomes a faded dream.
Instead of accepting defeat, this should be the anthem of every follower of Christ:
“We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:37-39)
This is an undying truth that needs to be anchored in your soul: You are NOT a victim of your circumstances. Nothing in Heaven, hell or on Earth can separate you from God's love. And, subsequently, from His protection. It doesn't matter what people say. It doesn't matter what your circumstances say. “There shall NO evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling!” (Psalm 19:10).
The devil will sneak into someone's mind, and convince them that their lot in life is to be sick, poor, alone, wounded and a victim of whatever life tries to throw at them. When these “causeless curses” come to rest on minds that are not on rooted on God's word, it can take time to develop the Mind of Christ on a matter. This is why meditating on the Scripture is so critical, and the reason why I have put together 14 key verses to help you remember the protection of God on your life.
30 Day Challenge
If you are struggling through some scary situations right now, you may want to print these out and make them your daily meditation. Put them on your bathroom mirror and say them aloud every day before you leave the house. Put them in phone and remind yourself with an alert to read them at work. Go to bed only after pouring yourself into these life-saving words. Do this for 30 days and just watch what will happen!
- God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
- He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. (Psalm 91:1-3)
- The LORD will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)
- Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. (Psalm 138:7)
- My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. (2 Samuel 22:3-4)
- Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
- No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from Me, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17)
- At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
- And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
- For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
- The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen! (2 Timothy 4:18)
- We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18)
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 27
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1
This one is for all you Type-A, goal-setters out there… 😉
Here's what James has to say about this:
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:13 – 17)
Wow! What a STRONG word!
To be quite frank, I struggle with this at times. I get so excited about the projects that I'm working on or about my newest vision for the future that I completely neglect to live “in the moment. I am fully aware that these passages are multi-dimensional, however, this is the key take-home message for me right now is And, if people were willing to truly look at their lives with a microscope, I think that most people would agree.
Our entire culture has taken us away from present-time consciousness. Smart phones, tablets and the new gadgets are just the tip of the iceberg here. We struggle focusing on “now” more so than any culture before us. With all of the technological distractions at the forefront of our existence, our struggle is quite unique to what the ancients experienced. Yet, we're still people with the same tendencies.
If the Lord made it a point to repeat Himself on this matter of not boasting about tomorrow – essentially telling us to focus on today and be grateful for what we have – then let's take it to heart.
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 28
The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1
Being “bold as a lion,” has much more to do with the attitude of your heart than it does with your actions. One of the Biblical secrets to operating in this mindset is walking in the confidence that your righteousness is not yours to brag about, it comes from God!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)P
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22)
By knowing that we are right with God through Christ, our lives take on a different meaning, don't they? I have particularly been empowered to walk in the Spirit and boldly…
- Cower in the face of opposition.
- Compromise integrity when challenges arise.
- Forego faith when criticized or even threatened.
- Share Christ with those who don't know Him.
- Do what's right in God's sight, regardless of what people may say.
- Walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.
As God's wonderful design has become a reality for me, I have discovered that walking in the Spirit (manifesting the righteousness of God) actually emboldens me. It's only when I walk in flesh (manifesting the old nature that I had before I met Christ), that I have the tendency to become timid and weak.
Oh, the manifold wisdom of God!
Choose this day to follow after Him and enjoy the authority that you have as sons and daughters of the Most High!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 29
When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh….The king by justice establishes the land, but he who exacts gifts and tribute overthrows it….If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will become wicked….The king who faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established continuously….When the wicked are in authority, transgression increases, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall see the fall of the wicked. Proverbs 29:2, 4, 12, 14, 16
Few parts of the Bible give such profound insight regarding the leader(s) of a nation. We have seen this time and time again in world history, haven't we? One fact is glaringly clear: for a nation to thrive (and survive), its leader must be a man or woman of integrity – truly, an honorable citizen. If not, the “inevitable” happens: the country they rule and its people will suffer…
No wonder God warned the people of Israel against establishing a head of state!
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.'
But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,' this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.” (1 Samuel 8:4-8)
We need to pray for our leaders like never before. Our role is to support them when they follow God's wisdom, and encourage repentance when they listen to another voice.
May our Lord help move their hearts and minds to follow His Way! And when it's time to vote in the next round of leaders, may we make decisions based off of God's principles, not economic or political concerns!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 30
Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you know? Proverbs 30:4
The names that God uses to refer to Himself in Scripture help us begin to understand His infinite characteristics through the lens of our finite minds. Like parents who communicate to their young children in ways that sound elementary to other adults, God our Father speaks to us “at our level.” Scattered throughout His Word are glimpses of His awesome sovereignty, and complete divinity:
- Adonai (Lord, Master)
- El Elyon (The Most High God)
- El Olam (The Everlasting God)
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
- Elohim (God)
- Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
- Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
- Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
- Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
- Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
- Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
- Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
- Qanna (Jealous)
- Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
As we see in the Bible over and over again, the meaning of someone's name can literally shape the course of history! Case in point: Jesus!
Christ's name is very telling – not only of His purpose on Earth, but also of a critical truth people must embrace to reach eternal life. Written in an ancient Greek language that we no longer use, the New Testament writers referred to Christ as Iēsous. Born a Jew, His Hebrew birth name was actually Yahshua – coming from the name Yĕhowshuwa (“Joshua”) – meaning “Jehovah is salvation.”
Just think of this for a moment…
Every time someone addressed Jesus or spoke His name, they were speaking an Abundant Life truth!
- Mary: “Yahshua [Jehovah is salvation], can you please put your clothes away?”
- Joseph: “Yahshua [Jehovah is salvation], can you hand me that hammer?”
- James (Brother): “Yahshua [Jehovah is salvation], do you want to play a game with me?”
- Rabbi: “Test time! Yahshua [Jehovah is salvation], please recite your memory verse?
- At the Cross: “And above His head they put up the charge against Him, which read, ‘This is Yahshua [Jehovah is salvation], the King of the Jews.' (Mathew 27:37)
If the intent was good, bad or indifferent it didn't matter! Whenever someone said Jesus' name they were proclaiming that salvation was in God the Father, and that He could grant it to whomever He wished. Whether or someone believed it or not is also irrelevant. What this does on the subconscious level is profound.
And THIS is the really good part: When people spoke to or referred to Jesus by His Hebrew birth name, people were inadvertently confessing that it is through Christ that salvation could be found!
- “Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.” (John 14:6)
- “This [Jesus] is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone]. And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
What's in a name? A lot!
His name is the Lord God Almighty – Creator of Heaven & Earth! And His Son's name is Jesus – King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Daily Bible Devotions: Day 31
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10
It wasn't until my first daughter was born that I first truly understood what unconditional love was. Being a dad has opened up an entire new realm of understanding of how I relate to God Almighty as my Heavenly Father. My children bring me such joy, and I cherish them in a unique, precious way because they are my own. Such is the case with God Almighty. We can either rejoice His heart or grieve it, because we are His dearly beloved children.
Of course I loved my wife, as well, but she still upset me at times; and still does! In light of my new-found love for my first born, I quickly realized just how “conditional” my love for my wife was. I found myself holding her accountable to certain standards, and she disappointed me in one way or another.
My infant daughter, on the other hand, wasn't accountable to do or be anything. I simply loved her for being her…
This experience has challenged me to appreciate and love my wife like how I did when we were courting. Remember those days when you first met your spouse? It was utopian bliss back then, wasn't it? I distinctly remember being enamored with the same characteristics and habits of my wife that ultimately caused me frustration and disappointment!
Did she change? No, I did! Or, more specifically, my opinion of her changed after the “honey moon” period. Someone, my love became conditional and I started to hold her to a different standard than what I did when we first met. From talking to many married couples since then, I have found that I am not alone.
How about you? How conditional is YOUR love for your spouse? Do you cherish him or her more than you do priceless rubies? Do you cherish him in the same way that you did when you first met?